| ||The language situation|
Indonesia is a multilingual society. There are more than 250 regional
languages in use in addition to the national language Bahasa Indonesia.
The majority of the regional languages are members of the Austronesian
language family. Bahasa Indonesia is a variety of Malay and therefore
also an Austronesian language.
The use of Bahasa Indonesia and the regional languages is triggered by
the context of the communication situation. Regional languages are
generally used in informal situations, whereas Bahasa Indonesia is the
means of communication in formal speech. Besides, Bahasa Indonesia is
more or less exclusively used for interethnic communication.
This results in a diglossic language situation. Regional languages are
used for local discourse and informal communication. Speakers tend to
switch to Bahasa Indonesia for more formal communication and supra
The majority of the regional languages in the project area belong to
the Kaili-Pamona language group, which in turn is a sub-group of the
Austronesian language family. "Ethnologue" (www.ethnologue.com) shows
the following family tree for the Kaili-Pamona sub group (numbers in
brackets refer to the existing numbers of languages belonging to each
Western Malayo-Polynesian (531)
West Central (41)
According to Ethnologue Kaili-Pamona consists of 15 languages. This
group is again subdivided into Kaili, which consists of 9 languages and
Pamona which consists of 6 languages. Languages of the Kaili group are
Baras, Lindu, Kaili DaŽa, Kaili Ledo, Moma, Uma, Sarudu Topoiyo and
Sedoa. The Pamona group consists of Pamona, Besoa, Bada, Rampi, Napu
and Tombelala. Most of these languages are subdivided into "dialects"
(see www.ethnologue.com), although the term dialect is linguistically
not very useful. Kaili-Ledo, for example, (250,000 speakers) is divided
into the dialects of Ledo (Palu), Doi, Ado, Edo, Tado, Tara (Parigi),
Rai, RaioIja and Taa. Other languages consist likewise of many
different dialects. In addition, many languages of this language sub
group do have different names. Napu, for example, is also known as
Pekurehua, Sedoa as Tawaeha and Uma as Pipikoro. The described
variation in name and dialectal form shows that until now no extensive
data on the language in the project area has been accumulated. There is
also only little scientific work on the Kaili-Pamona sub group language
listed in "Ethnologue" which verify this assumption. Still, the high
variation within the Kaili-Pamona subgroup can be taken as fact. The
high language variation is further increased by the national geographic
composition of the project area, which used to impede easy contact
between the villages. As a result, different varieties of one language
are not mutual intelligible between speakers of the same language. This
is true, for instance, for Kaili Ledo, Uma and Moma. Yet, there is no
reliable data available so far.
However, increasing mobility and the growing use of Bahasa Indonesia
change the language situation in the project area dramatically. In
cities, like the provincial capital of Central Sulawesi, Palu, Bahasa
Indonesia is already in use for informal communication, where
traditionally regional languages have been used. This development is
also more and more true for non-urban communication. Increasing
mobility and growing contact between different villages has triggered
the increasing use of the national language Bahasa Indonesia as a means
of communication. As a result an increased number of varieties of
Bahasa Indonesia and the regional languages are noticeable, due to
borrowing. Further change in the language situation has been triggered
by internal migration. Migrants from Java, Bali, Southsulawesi and
other parts of the archipelago, use their own language upon arrival in
the region. In Tonggoa, for example, a village at the North Eastern
border of the National Park 13 different languages are in use today.
This in turn leads to a very complex language distribution in non-urban
surroundings. There are villages, like Sedoa, where there is only one
language in use, i.e. Bahasa Sedoa, which is not related to any other
language in the area. Bahasa Sedoa in itself is very homogenous and
there are no noticeable influences by further regional languages or by
the national language.
In other villages there exists one variety of a local language, which
is also in use in the surrounding villages (like Bahasa Kulawi Moma in
Toro). The influence of Bahasa Indonesia on these languages depends
largely on the mobility of the village population and how close the
next urban centre is. Open societies tend to except the increasing use
of Bahasa Indonesia and to incorporate part of the vocabulary of Bahasa
Indonesia into the local language. On the other hand, there is also an
increasing use of "old" local language vocabulary noticeable which
replaces borrowed Bahasa Indonesia vocabulary, to strengthen the local
In some areas, like the Besoa Valley, Bahasa Indonesia is about to be
the major language for intra and inter village communication.
Traditionally there are different regional mutually non-intelligible
languages existing in the villages belonging to the Besoa Valley. The
increasing contact between the villages has led to the acceptance of
Bahasa Indonesia as the preferable means of communication.
In some villages different languages are in use side by side. Tonggoa,
which has been mentioned above, can be taken as an example. Due to
intra and inter island migration villages like Tonggoa present the most
heterogeneous language situation in the project area.
All in all, the use of one regional language or different regional
languages in one village and the use of Bahasa Indonesia as one
increasing means of communication within one village differ from
village to village. This, in turn, has to be taken into account, on the
interpretation of local discourse and discourse strategies.